Michael Rubinoff’s peers use words such as “exceptional”, “genius”, and “legend” to describe him, his time at Sheridan College, and his innovative and pioneering talent. As Associate Dean, Visual and Performing Arts, Mr. Rubinoff is responsible for several of Sheridan’s creative programs, as well as the program’s three joint degrees with the University of Toronto Mississauga: Theatre and Drama Studies; Art and Art History; and Culture, Communication, and Technology.
In his role, Mr. Rubinoff founded the Canadian Music Theatre Project (CMTP) at Sheridan, which is Canada’s first incubator and permanent headquarters dedicated to developing new musical theatre works, and where he also acts as producer. Since its inception in 2011, the CMTP has incubated 15 new musicals, four of which have gone from school to stage, allowing fourth-year students to achieve a meaningful, applied learning experience while completing their capstone projects.
The incubator has filled a gap in the world of Canadian musical theatre as it allows productions to develop and mature by providing selected writers, composers, and lyricists with a writer’s fee and a five-week workshop where students bring their productions to life.
Mr. Rubinoff and the CMPT have been central to the success of Come from Away, the brainchild of Mr. Rubinoff. He ensured it found the right creative team to bring to the stage the story of the town of Gander on 9/11 and then, using the CMTP’s incubator, nurtured and began its critically acclaimed run, which saw the production debut on Broadway in March 2017.
In 2015, the CMPT produced Brantwood, an innovative theatrical piece that featured 90 characters portrayed by 42 actors in 200 scenes with 40 original songs and dance numbers, that allowed participants to choose their own adventure and decide which of the 11 concurrent storylines to follow while wandering around the theatre. In 2014, Mr. Rubinoff brought the “Song, Stage and Screen Xi Conference” to Canada for the first time. The annual gathering brings together educators from around the world to discuss music theatre practices. In 2015, Mr. Rubinoff was selected to participate in the Governor General’s Canadian Leadership Conference.
Sheridan President and Vice-Chancellor Dr. Mary Preece accepted the award on his behalf at a conference in Ottawa on Monday, May 1.